The Temple News met with Acting President Richard Englert on Thursday afternoon to ask him some of our questions.
We walked away with more — the most burning of which is, ‘Why does Englert think he’s unimportant?’
“Students aren’t really that interested in me or who is sitting in this chair,” he said, adding that they were more interested in the faculty, their classes and what the campus looks like.
But the president has a direct influence over all of those things. He appoints deans and has power over faculty tenure. He carries out the will of the Board of Trustees, which oversees everything from educational policies to construction and programs at the university. The president also oversees the offices that are responsible for construction and development throughout the university.
The president is, in fact, a vital part of Temple. To think that the person who sits behind that desk is anything but, limits progress before it can even take place.
“You think a president says, ‘OK, let’s do this,’ and therefore everybody runs and does it? No way,” Englert said. “The reality is you have to get people to generate ideas. You have to get buy-in.”
That may be the case for the beginning of an initiative, but it takes a president to implement those ideas, to bring them into reality. And with so much going on at Temple, from community tensions to a recently unionized faculty, it’s clear there is still much more work to be done.
“I would never want to start an initiative that dies because I leave,” he said.
However, not trying to means failure by default.